Medicine Bow Trail

HARD 70 reviews

Medicine Bow Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Saratoga, Wyoming that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1712 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

Rocky scramble at higher elevation, subalpine wildflowers are plentiful. Very steep and follows switchbacks up to the highest points on the Snowy Range.

hiking
8 months ago

Beware of this trail in the winter!!! The maps are incorrect, both online and at the trailhead. It says the trail is a 7mile loop, which is not true. After me and my partner hiked this peak we came to the conclusion that the switch backs into the valley must have been destroyed by a rock slide or something like that. Because of this we had to hike about 7 miles along the peak until we were able to scale down the boulder cliff face at the very north end of the valley to reach the valley ground before night fall. This trail is not fit for the snow and the trail markers are extremely confusing and scarce. I suggest hikers give yourself at least 4 more hours to explore than originally planned. Please be careful, we had a very frightening experience!

Love the snow range area!!!

hiking
9 months ago

I've hiked this trail twice and I've yet to be disappointed. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Highly recommended for anyone who loves a good challenge and view that pays off.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked this on Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. We went counterclockwise on the loop, which we felt like was a good call since the way up was very steep and rocky and the way back down was a bit more gradual. There was a bit of a crowd at the summit of Medicine Bow Peak, but otherwise we saw few people. The views of the lakes surrounding the mountain are magnificent and make the difficult ascent well worth it. Be prepared for lots of boulder fields, but once you're on top of the mountain it levels off.

backpacking
9 months ago

I give this trail four stars because the views are stunning, BUT, be sure to pay attention to the trail markers and not confuse the old fence posts to the left of the summit post as the markers for the descent. My wife and I were backpacking, and there were also three day-hikers on the trail with us, who all thought the old fence posts were trail markers. Where this led us was a steep descent via scree fields down the peak and onto the ridge line. We got down to the ridge line right when a thunderstorm hit, turning the whole ridge line into slick rock. My wife and I, along with one of the dayhikers safely switchbacked down the mountain to the lakes on the north side. We ended up camping at Vanguard Lake and had a peaceful night after the stressful day. We are assuming the other two day hikers followed the post along the ridge down to the Gap Lakes where they then exited the park. Absolutely beautiful area, but can lead to danger if misguided or not prepared. Please, always, always carry maps!!

backpacking
9 months ago

This was a great hike for my family. It is well marked with wooden posts for trail markers. They take you all the way to the top. We hiked from the marie trailhead and it was a 5k to the top. It snowed for about 15min of our hike! awesome.

9 months ago

Beautiful and fantastic hike, hills are reasonable if you're used to the altitude. Can be challenging coming from low altitude, so be sure to take it slow

9 months ago

definitely worth the trip!

hiking
10 months ago

Hiked the loop clockwise on Friday, with my dog. Had it all to ourselves on the way up and at the top, though on the way down there were people. Great trail, great views. Loved it.

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail! Stunning views from high altitude. Great Wildflowers.

hiking
10 months ago

This hike completely changed my outlook on hiking. I used to dislike hiking, but the spectacular views, varied ecotomes, and general variety of scenery in this hike is absolutely amazing. It is rocky, which makes it a difficult hike, but completely worth it. There are some exposed sections, and hiking on snow is required (not for much of the hike, just about 20-50 yards).

Still, this is the best hike I have ever been on and has convinced me to go hiking a lot more often. Now, instead of looking for other activities to do while my family hikes, I actively look forward to hiking and go almost every weekend.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike, spectacular scenery. A little snow at the top, but that's all. Be prepared for afternoon storms.

hiking
11 months ago

One of my all time favorite hikes! Did it this morning. The wildflowers are everywhere and gorgeous! There's still a little snow at the top but it's totally passable in hiking boots.

hiking
11 months ago

Did this hike July 3rd. There were still patches of snow throughout the trail and a couple slick spots but nothing extreme, hiking shoes were sufficient. Came up from the Lake Marie trailhead and the plan was to do the entire loop but it turned out to be much more difficult then I imagined. Once I got to the peak I was not 100% sure which way the trail went down on the other side and the snow on top of all the boulders seemed a little sketchy so I came back down the same way. It was an amazing hike though. I got to the trailhead around 10:30 and I would say it was a little too late if you want to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms and rainstorms. I got rained on a couple of times but nothing much. The ENTIRE hike was beautiful though! I would definitely recommend this hike.

hiking
11 months ago

Did this hike three weeks ago in snowshoes, absolutely stunning. My original plan was to complete the loop starting at the West Lake Marie trailhead. I parked there and climbed the snow covered hill (snow was mostly gone as of yesterday July 1). I hiked through the snow and paralleled the ridge until I was able to find a cairn. I followed the cairns across massive snowfields and boulders until I reached the top. It tried to take the short way back down, but was blocked by overhanging snow ledges. Instead of climbing back up then huge boulders again, i ended up traversing the back side of the mountain for several miles until I intersected the original trail again and made my way down. Lots of snow up there as of yesterday. I met several folks from the Sugerloaf side yesterday who planned to climb that way to the top.

hiking
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Great hike! Make sure to plan an entire day so you can enjoy it.

hiking
Friday, May 05, 2017

I went at the end of summer so thunderstorms were threatening us but it was absolutely stunning! The lakes were extremely refreshing!

hiking
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Absolutely loved this hike, my favorite so far. Was more challenging than we thought but was accomplished! Give yourself lots of time. Gorgeous views from the peak, and all along the trail.

hiking
Sunday, November 20, 2016

Great hike, good scenic views looking down on various glacier lakes. Pretty windy at the top but well worth it. This area looks like a scene from Lord of the Rings...

hiking
Sunday, November 13, 2016

Great hike with the dog! A few snow patches, but it was fine, my feet didn't get wet. It was easy to follow all the carines to get to the peak.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Amazing views!

hiking
Sunday, September 18, 2016

awesome hike. Give yourself a lot of time, start early and be cautious of weather. 6.9 miles for the full loop. amazing views. Not the hardest hike at all that I've done but definitely not for those who arent prepared to get in a workout.

Monday, September 05, 2016

I love this trail. I think what really makes it hard is the elevation change about halfway up. Bring plenty of water.

hiking
Monday, September 05, 2016

Hiked this last October, started beautiful then Hail and lightening came while I was above tree line, other than that, this hike is beautiful! The trail is clearly marked above tree line as well. ✌

hiking
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Great Hike to see the whole range. Very Rocky at times.

hiking
Saturday, July 23, 2016

the best spot in the snowys is on top of the medicine bow peak! the switch backs and considering are insane bit worth it!

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Hiked this June 29th. Started up the front and descended the back. The snow was too soft on the steep face to feel safe crossing. We hiked around a steep boulder field to avoid the snow. Beautiful views. Great hike. Would enjoy more without the snow.

hiking
Monday, June 27, 2016

I agree with Jacob below. My friend and I hiked the loop yesterday, June 26th and did not expect the amount of snow covering many parts of the trail. It was incredibly slick. We made the entire hike up the back and down the front, but lost the trail several times as it was snow covered. Beautiful sights and wildflowers, but it would've been nice to know the amount of snow. I look forward to hiking this again when it's a little more clear.

hiking
Monday, June 27, 2016

Beautiful area/view. I went on June 25th though and there was still 3-6 ft of ice-hard snow in some areas. It was even on the trail in a lot of spots, including on extremely steep mountain sides, making crossing extremely dangerous (I was stupid and did it anyway, it was extremely unsafe). Go as late in the year as possible to avoid the snow. I would have given it a higher rating if an effort was made to clear the trail/warn hikers of snowed-over areas on the mountain side. I can see how people would love it though if it wasn't a life-threatening experience though.

hiking
Sunday, June 19, 2016

One of our favorite areas! Hike here 3-4 times every summer, and always bring guests from out of town because it's great for all ability levels. We live in Fort Collins and love to hike with no crowds and friendly people. I always tell people this is an instant gratification hike because the view from the parking lot alone is worth the trip. No need to charge for the summit if you don't want to. Always get an early start though because storms move in fast in the early afternoon and there isn't much cover.

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